DA - I need help. Fast.

Skits

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#1
I'm having a lot of problems with Nitro and Buddy. They get into one fight maybe every day or two, and when it's not the fighting that's the problem, it's the constant stress. Each time Nitro just looks at Buddy, I get nervous. And Buddy is becoming afraid of Nitro.

I have realized that if this doesn't get better, I'm going to have to rehome Nitro. But I accepted him into this house and I will not give up on him. He's a pain in the ass but he's my pain in the ass. I have tried/am trying rescue remedy. I'm not sure if anyone heard about it, but basically it's a natural calming drop. I give him 3-4 drops a day and he was doing great. He went a week without a fight, then one day we missed his dose and he got into a fight the next day. I'm not sure if it's the rescue remedy or not..but either way.

This is the message I sent to a dog trainer in my area who works with dog aggression in dogs. Any help would be so, so appreciated!

I have two dogs, a 6 year old golden retriever / border collie named Buddy, and a 2 year old APBT / staffordshire named Nitro. I've had Bud since he was 2 months, and Nitro since he was 4 months old.

When Nitro was a pup, he was having problems with other dogs. When he was four months old, he fought a GSD at a dog park for no reason at all. I thought maybe it wasn't him but over the next few times we went to the dog park, he continued showing signs of aggression to other dogs so I never returned with him. He was always fine with my boy, Buddy.

Over the last few months, he's starting to show food aggression against my cats and Buddy. He's completely fine with people though (the vet complimented how he's nervous around pits but Nitro was so sweet). Then it started that whenever food was on the floor, he'd start a fight or snap at the cats, and then to jealousy where if we were petting Buddy, he'd attack him. We tried working with him but seeing no progress anymore.

It's gotten to the point now where he gets into at least one fight a day where he won't let go of Buddy's face (usually his ear) and I have to throw myself between them and get them apart. I know it's not the right way to do it but there's not really another way when I'm the only one there in those few seconds. Usually it was a few second dispute between them and easy to separate, but the last one has drawn blood.

I'm walking them more now to see if it'll get out Nitro's energy but I don't know what else to do to stop fights from happening or to discipline him right after. I need help.

Also, both are neutered. Buddy was neutered at 3 months, Nitro however at two years old..
 

Beanie

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#2
This is really such a tough one, you need help from somebody who is there and can see what is going on and help you. In the meantime, I would recommend you start crate/rotate, since you say whenever Nitro looks at Buddy you get nervous, which isn't going to help the situation. Also since it's escalated to drawing blood, this is serious stuff. You really really need somebody to come in the house and see this to help you evaluate.
I would also start working on Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) with Nitro in the meantime.
You say he's two and he was neutered at two, how long ago was that?

If you can, I'm not sure about the trainer you've e-mailed, but you might also try to find a veterinary behaviorist to help you. http://www.dacvb.org/
 

JacksonsMom

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#4
This is really such a tough one, you need help from somebody who is there and can see what is going on and help you. In the meantime, I would recommend you start crate/rotate, since you say whenever Nitro looks at Buddy you get nervous, which isn't going to help the situation. Also since it's escalated to drawing blood, this is serious stuff. You really really need somebody to come in the house and see this to help you evaluate.
I would also start working on Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) with Nitro in the meantime.
You say he's two and he was neutered at two, how long ago was that?

If you can, I'm not sure about the trainer you've e-mailed, but you might also try to find a veterinary behaviorist to help you. http://www.dacvb.org/
This ^

I'm so sorry. :(

It's hard to say without seeing of course. But I do know that's often the age with Pits when they start to mature and begin turning a bit more DA (if they're going to be DA that is). And it's always a chance with a Pit Bull mix that crate/rotate could be in your future.

If it's JUST food/resource guarding, that can be managed by never feeding in the same room, or having food/toys/anything important on the floor etc.
 
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#5
While you are working on the situation with a trainer, please separate them and KEEP them seperated. They can't get into fights if they're not allowed access to one another. Someone is going to get seriously hurt - whether it be one of the dogs or YOU trying to break them up.

Have a trainer work with you on when (and if) they should be allowed to be together again, but in the meantime, they shouldn't be allowed together, IMO.
 

Skits

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#6
This is really such a tough one, you need help from somebody who is there and can see what is going on and help you. In the meantime, I would recommend you start crate/rotate, since you say whenever Nitro looks at Buddy you get nervous, which isn't going to help the situation. Also since it's escalated to drawing blood, this is serious stuff. You really really need somebody to come in the house and see this to help you evaluate.
I would also start working on Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) with Nitro in the meantime.
You say he's two and he was neutered at two, how long ago was that?

If you can, I'm not sure about the trainer you've e-mailed, but you might also try to find a veterinary behaviorist to help you. http://www.dacvb.org/
It's mostly this one look he gives, it's more of a stare and that's what makes me nervous since that's when he usually starts fights. And we've started NILIF a few weeks ago but are working on it way more intensely now. He was neutered mid-January of this year. Thank you, never thought of a vet behaviorist. I'll see which ones I think would be best and contact them tomorrow.

Also for blood, it's mostly because Nitro had Bud's ear when I pulled them apart and it kind of tore a bit and he had a bit of blood around it. I still consider it serious considering how minor the past fights have been.

Do the fights always occur in situations of jealousy/resource guarding?
At first, yes. Lately it's been over anything. Nitro just gives a sort of stare and goes for it. I could tell when a fight is about to occur most of the time from how he acts beforehand.
 

Skits

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#7
This ^

I'm so sorry. :(

It's hard to say without seeing of course. But I do know that's often the age with Pits when they start to mature and begin turning a bit more DA (if they're going to be DA that is). And it's always a chance with a Pit Bull mix that crate/rotate could be in your future.

If it's JUST food/resource guarding, that can be managed by never feeding in the same room, or having food/toys/anything important on the floor etc.
Hopefully it gets better, crate rotate sucks. It's sad because most of the time they get along really well and play together outside and they even play in the house quite often. They always sleep together or get along on the couch. It's only when we're around that they fight which is weird. If we're in a room away from them, you never ever hear them fight.

While you are working on the situation with a trainer, please separate them and KEEP them seperated. They can't get into fights if they're not allowed access to one another. Someone is going to get seriously hurt - whether it be one of the dogs or YOU trying to break them up.

Have a trainer work with you on when (and if) they should be allowed to be together again, but in the meantime, they shouldn't be allowed together, IMO.
Thanks for the tips. I'll try to crate rotate until I can get someone to help me out.
 

joce

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#8
I would crate and rotate and while seeing a behaviorist is good, I wouldn't expect to ever leave them loose together.

I just followed this on a dobe forum recently(pops up all the time there). There are just breeds that are other animal or same sex aggressive and no amount of training will change it. Training may help with some but you can crate And rotate and make it work. Some people just can not accept its a breed trait.

My corgi and husky began to fight at two. They never again got along. I had meds suggested but I didn't want to risk a fight again so we got some gates and it was fine. If it had jus been me at home it may have been harder to give them both attention but still could have made it work. With them it was more the two puppy syndrome but it always started with them fighting over one of us.
 

kady05

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#9
Not to be blunt but.. you have a Bully breed. He's 2, so just coming into his own and DA/DS is a very common breed trait (especially with same sex dogs, which you also have) that you should always be prepared for when you own this breed.

Sounds like since it's continuing to escalate, crate & rotate is your only option to keep both dogs safe. If you cannot dedicate yourself to doing this, then you need to rehome Nitro into a breed savvy home.
 

Emily

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#10
If you hire a trainer, just hire one with experience in intra-household dog aggression. I haven't personally seen impressive results with veterinary behaviorists in general, seems they have a lot of theoretical learning but I do not see the results coming out the other end. Regardless, if you pay a professional for help in this situation, be it trainer or behaviorist, they should have successful experience with this particular issue and be familiar with bully breeds as well.

Best of luck, this is not an easy situation and as others have said, there may not be too much that can be done to change things.
 

Skits

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#11
I understand that owning a bully breed would probably result in fights. We never chose Nitro, he was brought here by my mom (her ex was bringing him to the shelter and she took him). But I'm definitely ready to do crate and rotate with them. I'm fully aware that I may have to rehome him and I'm ready to do that as well.

I'll definitely call a behaviorist and get started asap with them. :)
 
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#12
Sounds like you have the right attitude for it. Manage it in the "now" and get help to see what you can work thru in the future.

Sometimes it's just learning what the triggers are and working thru them. Sometimes it's just not feasible, and it's ok. Doing right by the dogs can mean a lot of different things. Whether it's with you or not, the "right" thing can always be done.
 

Skits

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#13
I'll definitely get help to work through this. I used to know what the triggers are but now it just seems like anything is.

I don't know if I'm allowed to post this, but I've made a page for the situation and I'll keep it updated with progress or any fights. For now I won't crate rotate as I want to try other options beforehand because I feel once we're doing that, it'll be more difficult in the end. And they do love each other, it's not a lost hope yet. They're cuddling on the couch as I type. :)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buddy-Nitro/651483911566440

Edit: I need help with discipline training. If a fight occurs, what do I do afterwards? What I do is tell him "no" and crate him, I do know there's a no saying no rule though..not sure what to tell him.
 
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DJEtzel

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#14
Honestly, I think it would be very dumb of you to *not* crate/rotate right away.

The more they are able to get away with it and actually fight (which is obviously more than possible and very likely with them both loose together) the more likely they are to never stop.

Give them a break. Crate and rotate for a week, talk to a trainer, buy click to calm. Mark and treat Nitro for looking at Buddy, without Buddy around him (to eliminate resource guarding) and don't let Nitro pick "spots" in the house where he wants to sleep/lay/chew on bones A. Frequently or B. For a long period of time.

Seriously, if you want there to be a chance that you can salvage this, you need to crate/rotate right away and eventually move to a tether (leash) so that you can 100% control the situation.

I would also teach a place command, and once you get to the point of them being loose together again, you can give one/both the command to go to their separate corners if you start to feel any tension, then you can crate one and let the mood relax.

Keep this in mind, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFGIRPAWcSM
 

Emily

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#15
Honestly, I think it would be very dumb of you to *not* crate/rotate right away.

The more they are able to get away with it and actually fight (which is obviously more than possible and very likely with them both loose together) the more likely they are to never stop.

Give them a break. Crate and rotate for a week, talk to a trainer, buy click to calm. Mark and treat Nitro for looking at Buddy, without Buddy around him (to eliminate resource guarding) and don't let Nitro pick "spots" in the house where he wants to sleep/lay/chew on bones A. Frequently or B. For a long period of time.

Seriously, if you want there to be a chance that you can salvage this, you need to crate/rotate right away and eventually move to a tether (leash) so that you can 100% control the situation.

I would also teach a place command, and once you get to the point of them being loose together again, you can give one/both the command to go to their separate corners if you start to feel any tension, then you can crate one and let the mood relax.

Keep this in mind, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFGIRPAWcSM
This is great advice IMO. Every fight tends to solidify a poor relationship and a pattern of behavior that gets harder and harder to change. Cut it off NOW, right now, no more contact. And then re-introduce them the way Danielle described.
 

Skits

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#16
Honestly, I think it would be very dumb of you to *not* crate/rotate right away.

The more they are able to get away with it and actually fight (which is obviously more than possible and very likely with them both loose together) the more likely they are to never stop.

Give them a break. Crate and rotate for a week, talk to a trainer, buy click to calm. Mark and treat Nitro for looking at Buddy, without Buddy around him (to eliminate resource guarding) and don't let Nitro pick "spots" in the house where he wants to sleep/lay/chew on bones A. Frequently or B. For a long period of time.

Seriously, if you want there to be a chance that you can salvage this, you need to crate/rotate right away and eventually move to a tether (leash) so that you can 100% control the situation.

I would also teach a place command, and once you get to the point of them being loose together again, you can give one/both the command to go to their separate corners if you start to feel any tension, then you can crate one and let the mood relax.

Keep this in mind, too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFGIRPAWcSM
Thank you, this is what I was looking for. I thought I was just to crate and rotate and continue that forever. I feel that just them being apart might make them forget each other and have more fights when they'd see each other again. I just don't understand marking and treating Nitro for looking at Buddy when he isn't around, how do I go about doing that?

Edit: Also both dogs don't have any spots around the house, the kitchen is just where we're around most.

And another question on crate rotate, what should I do exactly? Separate them by a baby-gate or actually one in the crate, one out?
 
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#17
From my experience with same sex aggression, once there is a problem, there is no getting along again from then on out. Granted, this has always occurred with bitches, but, yeah..they would be fine one day, squabble the next, and from then on out it was a bloodbath if they were allowed contact. The boys were always a little more willing to get along a day or two after a scrap, as long as there were no triggers..but I would've never trusted them alone together to not fight once that line had been drawn between them.

As was mentioned, Nitro is a bully breed coming into his maturity. You cannot ignore that dog aggression is a breed trait. Bully breeds typically relish the chance to scrap, and every time he is allowed to do so, well, it's a reward for him. A reinforcement. You simply cannot give him a chance to fight, because he is going to take it.

You may not every be able to trust them together again. That's just part of owning bully breeds.

As far as crate/rotate - mine are crated in separate rooms. That eliminates any crate fighting/defending or staring and antagonizing that will just lead to more frustration.
 
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#18
I think it's really important that you go into this without the end goal being getting the dogs back together all the time, but rather to keep everyone safe and happy. I think that thinking of gate/crate/rotate as something temporary tends to make people over-interpret small signs of success and rush into re-introducing dogs, which in the long run can lead to more incidents and setbacks.

We do gate/rotate with the boys in the house and probably always will. We have a small, old house in which the first floor can be separated into more or less equal areas. We use hardware mounted baby gates, and the dogs can see and interact with each other and us all the time. After a lot of work (and medication on Pip's part), at this point they are fine outside in the yard together, they are fine on walks, they are fine in the house together if I am actively working with them (like on group down-stays for example, or two practicing down-stay while I work with the third). But we're pretty committed to just keeping the gate/rotate going in the house forever. I don't ever want them practicing fighting again and lose all the progress we've made. Every time they fight, I think they can become more likely to fight again.

It's really just a minor inconvenience, really. If our house didn't have the layout it does or if the boys didn't get along outside, I'm not sure we could do it. But it does, they do, and so we can. My point is, it can be a doable thing long term.
 

Skits

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#19
So I'll definitely be doing crate/rotate. I'm just worried about a few things, well not worried but questioning.

For C/R, how do I feed them, how do I give them each attention, can they go on walks together, go outside together..?
 

Torch

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#20
So I'll definitely be doing crate/rotate. I'm just worried about a few things, well not worried but questioning.

For C/R, how do I feed them, how do I give them each attention, can they go on walks together, go outside together..?
You just try to give them equal time. Crate someone and let the other stay loose with you around the house. Or crate one and have the other sleep in the bedroom with you. That sort of thing. Typically helps to give tasty treats in the beginning when they have to go in the crate or behind the gate. Feed one in the crate and maybe one in the kitchen.

Eventually you may be able to walk them together or let them outside together, but that time is not right now.
 

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